Cobra LI-7200 Review

Cobra LI-7200 Review

Cobra has a very exciting model for its 2008 product line.

Industry Canada Certification Number: 906B-LI7200

Power output:
300 mW FRS

This radio is approved for FRS use on Channels 1-7 under low power operation only. FRS may be used on channels 8-14 also. A GMRS license is required on all other channels and power levels. Medium power is available on GMRS channels only.

22 Channel operation FRS/GMRS
Channel Scan
Lithium-Ion battery
Weather radio
Vibrate page.
Memory channel programming
VOX Function
single pin speaker mike jack. (compatible with single-pin Motorola Accessories)


The manual states the lights on the charging stand will stay on all the time. I noticed, the lights got dimmer, and finally went out altogether. I am unsure if this is a manual misprint or defective charger. In any case the batteries were fully charged. I am assuming the charger has no defects, and it was simply a design change after the manual print date.

There is a lot going on. Some functions require a good look at the manual. Memory channels especially. If you study up, you can learn quickly.

The memory channels are poorly implemented. You need to scroll through and find them. Once there, you are fine. There shold be an option for the radio to default to memory channels… not a good function for novice users.

Performance Review:

Battery life: Very long life. They exceeded 24 hours on scan before I gave up and recharged. Needless to say… they will work all day for you. The 1500 mAh battery is unheard of in consumer-grade radios. The voltage is the equivalent of 6 AA Nimh cells. This is also tops in the consumer-grade market. This goes a long way in assisting in the long range I discovered.

Volume is sufficient for average use. Noisy areas will probably require a speaker mike.
Received audio quality is very good, considering the small speaker size. No problem understanding other radios.

Receiver Performance:
The receiver I think is very sensitive. There was some household electronics interference, which stopped scanning on channel 12. Household interference with these radios is not serious. ALL radios will have this to a degree. Use of CTCSS or DCS makes this a total nonfactor. The sensitive receiver helps extend communications range.

Communications Ranges:
House To Car: 1.43 miles
House to person: 1.83 miles
Person to person: 2.19 Miles
Car to car: 1.23 miles

Terrain is suburban, with houses, some commercial properties and a lot of trees. Your experiences may differ.

I was very impressed by communications ranges for this model. Ranges were measured point-to-point via Google Earth. This is the best communication range I’ve ever experienced overall on radios I’ve reviewed.

Final Observations:

These are very good radios and should serve a person very well. I would like to see a way to lock out channels while scanning, however, the memory function can help circumvent any unwanted channels. The memory function wasn’t implemented the way I would have liked it, but it does work, and can be useful. Do not get me wrong about the few drawbacks I mentioned. Every radio is going to have something that a user may see room for improvement on. These radios have a nice look and feel, and work very well.

I’d recommend these radios.

Thanks for the review! The 1.78 watts for the Cobra LI7200 is the most of any radio in this class right now. I’m really impressed with those range numbers. I think this is a significant improvement for Cobra.

The battery life is also incredible… they just won’t die. I have never had them go dead yet! I got 'em low enough for the charger to see; but am still letting 'em scan to run down the batteries. A 1500 mAh pack is massive, considering the average radio has a pack well below 1000 mAh. Voltage of the pacvk is also higher than typical… BTW 48 hours powered on, still kicking. Now though in battery save mode. I’ll scan some more tomorrow… incredible.

Just wondering - The review states that the LI-7200 can be used on channels 1-7 under low power only. The manual shows low-medium-high power
on 1-7 ? (Low on 8-14) .

Just answered my own question. High power IS available on channels 1-7
if you have a GMRS license. Sorry about the confusion.

I’ll look it over and see if I can clarify it. I typically fine tune my reviews if I overlooked something, or someone has questions.

does this radio have the transmition delay problem that was an issue with cobra radios in the past.

There were none that I noticed. Bear in mind, you will need to hold the tranmit button down, then wait a half second or so before talking if you are using a CTCSS/DCS tone. This allows the receiving radio to receive and decode the incoming signal. This is typical of all radios using PL/DPL.

Thank you for your review. I purchased the Cobra-LI7200 WX a few days ago and during the charging I observed exactly what you observed.

“The manual states the lights on the charging stand will stay on all the time. I noticed, the lights got dimmer, and finally went out altogether. I am unsure if this is a manual misprint or defective charger. In any case the batteries were fully charged. I am assuming the charger has no defects, and it was simply a design change after the manual print date.”

I took out my volt meter and found the batteries to be fully charged ( 7.94, 7.93 volts respectively. The charger electrodes in both cradles measured 11.95 volts each , also 11.95 volts at the charger plug. The AC/DC adapter states a 12 volt output. I too tried to run down the batteries (transmitting, scanning, a weather band broadcast on full volume for a period time) but to no avail. When I put the unit back into the charger cradle, the charge light ever so slightly illuminated then went out. The battery sticker states a nominal 7.4 volts output, so I guess the charger “charge light” doesn’t illuminate until the battery voltage falls below that value.

By design, a lithium-ion battery charger “charge light” should turn off when their batteries are fully charged, so I’ll assume that our observations do not point to a problem and the manual is indeed incorrect.

I had the radios on for 4 hours at the zoo today… They weren’t ready to be charged :slight_smile:

Amazing battery life.

I’m curious, now that you’ve had these units for awhile, how long does it take/type of operating to wear down the batteries to the point that the dual-cradle charger charge-light comes on? I live up in the Rocky Mountains and will begin distance tests of all sorts. I’ll post the results here at a later date.

Intense operating over 5 hours will do it. Otherwise, maybe overnight at least.

First long distance test. 32 miles. Unobstructed view. engaged 2 units of Cobra 7200, GMRS Ch. 20, Hi output setting. Unobstructed view. Me: Colorado, 8,800 feet above sea level. Second Party: Atop Mt. Evans, Colorado, 14,260 ft. above sea level. Quality of communication: fair to fair+

Second Test Results:
Date: Saturday June 14, 2008
GMRS Hi Setting.
Squelch: ON
Linear Distance: 7.8 miles (Google Earth determination)
Location: Rocky Mountains, Colorado
Unit One Location Altitude: 9200 ft. above sea level.
Unit Two Location Altitude: 8500 ft above sea level

Three intervening ridge lines approx 9400 feet above sea level, spaced two miles apart on average. Both units were operating behind and below these ridge lines. The land in between mostly tall pine forest.

Communication Quality: fair, continuous.

Oops double post sorry.
Marty da Noob in PA

Noob here, 1st post.
I happened on this site just last week, and read about the LI7200. I ride motorcycles and use FRS (one day I will get the GMRS license) radios to communicate with other riders at rallies and when touring. My setup is a Starcom1 Advance, which is an intercom with inputs for GPS, MP3, radar detectors, and 2-way radios with appropriate brand specific plugs. This Starcom has VOX capability but if you use the VOX (which it is setup to do) between rider and passenger you have to use a PTT button for the 2-way radios to work. My last 2-way set was the LI6000 Cobra but I began to have problems with them. I understand that these little 2-ways are not built for motorcycle abuse, keeping them dry and vibration free is the trick. I managed to get almost 2 summers of excellent use from them but they started to just not work on occasion. The external plug is worn on one, the pin goes all the way in. Cobra wants $50 to repair one, I only paid $49 for the pair…

Looking for new radios I googled 2 way radio performance and I found this site and saw the LI 7200 was the best at distance and test results that showed excellent distance and comments about this being the best at distance and so on. I stopped in a Best Buy Saturday and there they were, so I thought I’d give them a try. So far they work fine in a driveway test, but while moving plugs and wires around and checking different channels I noticed that when I was on the Hi setting and plugged them in to the Starcom the setting dropped to Med. This was not mentioned in the test results, and the owner’s manual states:

“When using an external speaker/
microphone accessory on channels 1-7
or 15-22, your microTALK® radio will
only operate on medium or low power.”

So I have 2 questions:

  1. What is the performance of this radio at the Med setting? Can anyone do that test?
  2. If it is significantly lower, or, put another way, if it is just like any other radio at the Med setting, does it make sense to get a GMRS license for this radio to use on my motorcycle when it is not significantly stronger than my old LI 6000?

I am basically radio ignorant, don’t know a milli-amp from a millipede, but I can understand comparative test results. It is obviously important for motorcycles to have the best range due to the terrain we encounter, twisty roads, mountains, cities, and TREES! I would have liked to know about this power drop / accessory use before purchasing these radios. I might have waited for the GXT900. Well, I might still buy the GXT900… It got great reviews also.

By the way I like the real world tests you folks are reporting. This is one of those true forums, not some mouthpiece for a particular brand. Good work!!

Marty da Noob in PA

Thank`s for advice!

USA radios are illegal in Europe. They all use the PMR-446 service. The whole continent uses this standard.

USA Radios use the 462 and 467 Mhz band which would be on your Fire and police frequencies… a definite NoNo

Thank`s Jwilkers !

I’m not trying to dog on these radios, and I realize they are great radios, but I really dislike the idea of proprietary battery packs. There have been some posts about how awesome the battery life is on these with the lithium battery packs. I just want to mention this, the Midland gxt series comes with a battery pack or the option to use AA batteries. I chose to stick Rayovac Hybrids in mine with a rating of 2100 Mah, and I actually consistently get over that when charged (usually around 2.2 - 2.4 Mah). With that being said, my setup has more juice than Cobra’s proprietary battery packs, and I can swap out batteries whenever I need. Last weekend I never turned my radios off and the battery meter didn’t drop past 2/3’s. So consider that before going out and buying them, because it will cost you 20 bucks for every extra battery pack.